The discarded outer shells of the sea potato

Sea Potatoes

These delicate white objects can sometimes be seen washed up on sandy beaches. These are the shells, or tests, of the Sea Potato (Echinocardium cordatum). This member of the sea urchin family like to bury itself in sandy beaches well below the low tide mark and is common to all coasts around the UK and…

A periwinkle in the foreground with a trail stretching into the background.

Periwinkle goes for a walk

Wait for me! A common Periwinkle makes its way down to the tide on Dollar Bay and leaves quite an impressive trail as it does so. They don’t normally wander too far from their habitats but in order to lay their eggs, they must make this long, arduous trek (in snail-pace terms anyway!)

A fish poking it's head out from cover in a rock pool

Common Blenny

Have you ever peered into a rock pool and seen this looking back. The Common Blenny or Shanny is one of our more common rock-pool fishes. Up to 10cm long, it is usually Brown/Green in colour with darker blotches (males turn Black with a white mouth in the breeding season). Once the female has laid…

A seagull on a sandy beach

Black-Headed Gull

The Black-Headed Gull is commonly spotted around the Hook peninsula and indeed all Irish coasts. Familiar as it may be, this small gull is now a Red-Listed species. Numbers are dropping and breeding colonies are more localised, with Wexford and Donegal having the largest coastal colonies. Its name is misleading as it doesn’t really have…

Shore Crab

A native to these shores (Carcinus maenas) is commonly found on beaches and in rock pools. They aren’t picky eaters and will feast on anything and everything that they come across including seaweed, molluscs and smaller crabs. It is normally a green colour but can sometimes be orange or red. Although a native to Europe…

Lugworms

The humble lugworm, used as bait for generations, is a common sight on sand and mud. Or rather their distinctive casings are since the lugworm itself seldom leaves it’s burrow. The burrow is a U-shaped tunnel that begins at a shallow depression, this is the head end of the lugworm from which the worm ingests…

Bright yellow bird perched in amongst some branches.

Yellowhammer

The yellowhammer is much less often seen these days as changes in agricultural practices have lead to it’s decline. The species is currently on the red conservation status in Ireland. This brightly coloured member of the bunting family can be found around arable fields especially this time of year in freshly harvested cereal fields as…